What makes you mad? Really, deeply angry?
Instead of letting it go, or meditating it away, Kailash Satyarthi, the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014, wants you to hang on to that anger. To hang on to the fire and passion generated by it and harness it into something positive.
“Anger is in everyone. If we are confined in the narrow shells of egos and the circles of selfishness—anger becomes hatred, violence and revenge. If you can break the circles the same anger could turn into a great power,” he says in his TED2015 talk.
Satyarthi has harnessed his great power from great anger, which stems from witnessing the cruel injustices caused by the caste system of his native India.
This system, with its rigid social stratification, is harshest for the untouchables, a class of people so ostracized they literally cannot touch or interact with others. Satyarthi, furious and fed up, organised a rebellion dinner. The untouchables would prepare food for the leaders, a highly taboo proposition. The leaders pledged their support and promised to attend.
The day arrived, the food was prepared, and none of the leaders came. Satyarthi went around the village to round up the leaders who had promised to come. When he arrived at his own home, he found a contingent of his caste leaders in the front yard. Humiliated and horrified, they threated to outcast Satyarthi’s entire family.
Instead, Satyarthi outcast himself.
He renounced his former surname (which was linked to his caste) and adopted the surname Satyarthi, which means seeker of truth.
He’s since founded movements and campaigns that have helped free over 83,000 child labour slaves and worked with NGOs to develop policies to end the exploitation of children. His mantra has become anger, idea, action.
“The energy of anger could be harnessed to create a better and beautiful world. A more just and equitable world,” he says.
Fury is a potent fuel. You just have to decide if you’re going to let it burn you up or light a fire with it.